Sunday, June 23, 2024

Seychelles: The priest who became president after sixth attempt

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

In 1998, Wavel Ramkalawan, an Anglican cleric first contested as president of his country Seychelles.

That was not going to be his last time but the start of six attempts at the presidency, a journey that has finally become a reality.

This month he led the opposition in Seychelles to win the country’s presidential election for the first time since 1977.

Wavel Ramkalawan defeated incumbent President Danny Faure who has been in power since 2016 by 54.9% to 43.5%.

President Wavel Ramkalawan’s victory was very significant since it broke the political dominance by one party since 1977.

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Ramkalawan is an ordained Anglican minister who entered politics decades ago. He often makes remarks the government considered political from the pulpit.

In 2015 he lost to James Michel by only 193 votes in a second round of voting, that was how close he was to becoming president.

He said after his election victory with a quote from Nelson Mandela that “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.”

The new president said “Seychelles should be an example of tolerance for the whole world. We are 115 small islands in the Indian Ocean, but we are not insular.

“We will maintain friendly relations with all nations, and welcome help and assistance from our international allies whomsoever they may be.”

Seychelles is a former British colony which became independent in 1976.

The defeated ruling United Party seized power in a coup in 1977 and has retained the presidency since then even after multi-party democracy was restored in 1993.

There are still divisions within Seychellois society and the new president certainly has a lot of work to do to unite the country.





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